- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2000

He is hardly a household name, but Rick Boylan oversees perhaps the most stringent quota program in the nation.

Huddled in his office just two blocks from Congress, the dapper Montana native makes sure that women and minorities get their "fair share" of some highly coveted positions.

With about 4,000 slots available only once every four years, Mr. Boylan uses a complex formula to divide the goodies between everybody from Hispanics in Connecticut to American Indians in California. Who is this stealth quota king? Is Mr. Boylan a federal judge determined to foist racial justice on countless municipalities?

A bureaucrat deeply ensconced in the bowels of the federal government? Nope. He is executive director of party affairs and delegate selection for the Democratic Party. The party of equal opportunity relies on Mr. Boylan to ensure that delegates to its national convention are properly divided by race, gender and, now, "sexual lifestyle."

Homosexual recruitment was just instituted for the 2000 Democratic National Convention. But the general "affirmative action plan" mandatory "goals" for women and minorities has changed very little since it was first implemented for the 1972 convention. And the Democrats say that conservatives live in the past and divide the country by race? Ever since the Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1972 used the new rules to unseat some members of the Illinois delegates because of their unbearable whiteness, delegate selection has been one huge quota-fest.

If your only concern is appearance, the policy works like a charm. At the 1996 convention in Chicago, the 4,289 delegates were reportedly 18.9 percent black, 9 percent Hispanic and 1.4 percent American Indian. As of this writing, the numbers had not been tallied for the 4,369 delegates expected at the Democratic convention in Los Angeles. But look for another "gorgeous mosaic." Democratic functionaries (including those with day jobs as reporters) will likely revel in the glorious diversity. Don't expect many explanations on how it was achieved.

If you think it is unpleasant to watch sausage or legislation made, consider this scheme. The Democratic National Committee requires that each state's delegates are equally divided by gender. State Democratic parties submit their own plans to implement affirmative action programs with specific goals and timetables for "African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian/Pacific Americans and women." (Notice that in DNC doublespeak the explicit quota for women is called a "goal.") In any event, the goals for the aforementioned racial and ethnic minorities must reflect their proportion of the state's Democratic electorate.

But it's not just white males who get shafted. Anybody can end up on the wrong side of this quota scheme. Even veritable civil-rights heroes are expendable if they tip the numbers the wrong way. Just ask Mamie Cunningham. One of the "Freedom Democrats" who in 1964 challenged Mississippi's all-white delegation to the Democratic convention in Atlantic City, today she is a schoolteacher. Ms. Cunningham was scheduled to be a delegate to the 2000 convention. Then her gender interfered.

The DNC in mid-July alerted Mississippi state party officials that their delegation had two more women than men. To correct this horrific imbalance, which could have kept the entire delegation from being seated, Mississippi state party officials promptly replaced Ms. Cunningham with a male state senator. (In the case of odd-numbered delegates, gender imbalances by one are allowed.) In late July, however, a woman delegate offered to let Ms. Cunningham go in her place.

Strange as it may sound, each state sends some delegates to the convention regardless of race or gender; they are elected by popular vote at the district or caucus level.

But other slots are set aside for "delegates-at-large," who are selected by state party officials to meet their overall affirmative action "goals." In other words, if voters choose too many white males in the first round of voting, party officials use at-large delegates to redress the imbalance.

Under this scheme, a prospective delegate can lose the popular vote but win the far more crucial diversity sweepstakes. Consider how Brooklyn resident Janet Sullivan stumbled upon a pot of gold at the end of the Democrats' rainbow coalition. In New York, voters choose among a slate of delegates for each presidential candidate. Ms. Sullivan sought election as a Bradley delegate from her 13th Congressional District (an amalgam of Brooklyn and Staten Island). The results were hardly auspicious. Ms. Sullivan finished eighth out of ten among the Gore and Bradley delegates on her district's primary ballot. Even among prospective Bradley delegates, she finished third out of the five-person slate. At this point, Ms. Sullivan might have expected to sit out the convention.

Because of the overall election results, however, Al Gore was entitled to three delegates and Bill Bradley two. Normally, that would have meant the top three vote-getters for Mr. Gore and top two for Mr. Bradley. But that would have produced an overall gender imbalance of more men than women. To solve the problem, local party officials chose Ms. Sullivan as a Bradley delegate instead of a leading Bradley supporter, who had outpolled her, the Staten Island Advance reports. (Ms. Sullivan could not be reached for comment and the reporter who wrote the story did not return a phone call.)

But Rick Boylan, the head of delegate selection for the Democratic National Committee, steadfastly denies quota mongering. What does he call the gender dictum that tripped up Ms. Cunningham but empowered Ms. Sullivan? "A requirement."

With these kinds of "requirements" it is a safe bet that every four years the long march of the bean counters will land smack in the middle of the Democratic convention.



Evan Gahr, an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, adapted this piece from his longer version for the American Spectator on line.

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